Relief efforts start in India after Cyclone Phailin leaves trail of destruction

Credit: Caritas India

Credit: Caritas India

Hundreds of thousands of people in India need help after Cyclone Phailin flattened their homes and destroyed their livelihoods. Many people remain marooned with their villages cut off due to high flood waters.

It was the strongest storm ever to make landfall on India, crashing into the eastern coast at the weekend. The cyclone caused great swathes of damage in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh states. As many as 9 million people are said to have been affected in 13 districts.

A mass evacuation effort – described as the biggest in India’s history – kept the death toll relatively low, but needs are still great as people return home.

“Even though many people had gone back to their own villages, they came back to cyclone shelters due to the fear of mud slides or drowning,” said Babita Alick of Caritas India. “Families are living in the open crowded buildings, some in the back of trucks covering with plastics.”

Caritas India says families are at risk due to poor hygiene and drinking untreated water.

Caritas India is supporting SWAD (Berhampur Social Service Society) and Balasore Social Service Society with immediate relief in camps and villages where government aid has not reached. Caritas India will provide food, non food essentials and medical aid to address possibilities of risk.

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